tv Piers Morgan Tonight CNN January 19, 2012 3:00am-4:00am EST
he's the 39th president of the united states, jimmy carter. commander in chief, winner of the nobel peace prize, and probably only man who really knows how barack obama may be feeling about the potential possibility of becoming a one-term democratic president. >> well, he hasn't been able to accomplish very much because he's been hamstringed by the most uncooperative congress we've had in history. >> jimmy carter, his peace-making work around the world. >> if i had one constant prayer the last 35 years of my life, it would be to bring peace to israel. >> his place in history. what's the one piece of advice you would give any president when they walk in the oval office for the first time?
>> the tell the truth. >> and his controversial opinion of some of the gop candidates. >> gingrich in the south carolina debate, i think he has that subtlety of racism that i know quite well and that gingrich knows quite well. >> jimmy carter and his wife, rosalinde, for the hour. the piers morgan interview starts now. jimmy carter was president from 1977 to 1981, but his work since then has won him praise worldwide and a nobel peace prize. his latest book is "through the year with jimmy carter" and tonight i'm privileged to sit down with president carter and his wife, rosalind, who will gin us later. mr. president, thank you for welcoming us to this extraordinary center. >> good to have you at the carter center. >> i love the dates here. you became president in '77. cnn is launched in -- >> '80. >> 1980. the carter center is launched in 1982. so we're all kind of interwoven here. the carter center is unusual in
the sense that most ex-presidents went for a big library and that would be the way they would do their work. but the this center is really extraordinary. just walking around the library is really a small part of it. you've got all these different areas, covering all kind of global charities and things that you support and stuff. what was the overriding concept for the center? >> well, to promote two things. human rights and all of its ramifications and also peace. and we have -- we started out just trying to negotiate peace between people and we still do that, but i think now about 80% of our total budget goes in curing diseases or preventing diseases that afflict hundreds of millions of people in africa and latin america, but don't touch rich countries anymore. we also monitor elections. we just did our 89th election in egypt. we're still going over there. we just finished in tunisia and this is a major part of the carter center's work. >> do you feel you've achieved more outside of the presidency than you did when you were there? >> well, it's a different kind
of thing. you know, i couldn't have brought peace between israel and egypt. i couldn't have normalized diplomatic relations with china have i hadn't been in the white house. those two things have momentous historic influence in the future. but it's a much more intimate relationship. last year we gave treatment to prevent blindness to over 12 million people. and we have now just about eradicated a disease called guinea worm, which afflicted 3.5 million people. now we're down to about 1,000 cases. so we're almost on the verge of doing away with this disease. and you know, i couldn't have gone to egypt and participated in a detailed meeting with all the political parties and monitoring the election if i hadn't been in the white house. so it's a much more personal, intimate relationship with people who are in need than it could have been. >> do you think you get a bit of a bad rap for your presidency? the reason i ask that, if you look at the achievements and if you look at the israel/egypt treaty, which has stood to this day.
you look at the way you brought america back into relations with china, the most pivotal relationship now that america could possibly have, just on those two things alone, pretty big ticks in the box, weren't they? >> well, they were. and we kept our country at peace. we had a lot of challenges, a lot of opportunities, a lot of advice, and i had to start another war, attacks on somebody. we department do that. we not only kept peace for ourself and promoted human rights, but we brought peace to other people and formed alliances, china's the most important one, that had been a strain for america on 30 years or so. >> you've just been to egypt, and this has obviously been the most extraordinary 12 months. when you look at the middle east and egypt in particular and the repercussions for israel and surrounding countries, what is your sense on the ground there? because the big concern is, after all the euphoria of a year ago, that actually the islamists are taking control in egypt and that this could be very worrying. >> well, we have to remember that egypt has about 90%
muslims. and for muslim political parties to be elected, it's no surprise. and i think the muslim leader, with whom i've met extensively during this past week, are very determined to put on a good face for the rest of the world and to show that islamists can govern effectively and fairly and honor human rights. it remains to be seen, of course. one of the things that's important to realize is that the united states is now recognizing the right of the islamist parties to form a government. >> when you saw people like mubarak being deposed after 30-odd years, gadhafi killed and so on. i mean, extraordinary times. >> yes. >> the kind of thing you couldn't have even imagined five years ago, did part of you celebrate and the other part slightly think, okay, what's going to happen now? >> well, both. there was a celebration, because democracy had come for the first time, really in the history of egypt. and some trepidation about the
future, because it's unpredictable, as you know. and i think a lot of what happens in egypt, and also in tunisia, and also in the future in libya and so forth, will depend on the attitude of the united states and european countries toward the new government. will we support them and say, these are the premises on which we will give you financial assistance and also give you economic and political support, or will we try to do away with them, just because we don't like the leaders who have now taken power? i hope that we'll reach out to them with a friendly hand, give them help, and let them have a chance to form a good government. >> well, what should america's role be? >> i think the promote democracy and freedom. and that is what has happened in egypt. they have a chance now for a democratic government, chosen by the people, and they have a
chance for freedom that is to have all the human rights that normally go with a free society. and in the past, we haven't always done that. for us, it was an election in palestine in 2006 in january, when the muslim government won. the hamas won. and in advance of that, we had supported hamas supported their candidates, but after they won the election, the united states said, no, we can't let them take office. so we declared after the election was over that they were terrorists, and we forbad them to take office. >> do you think that was a mistake? >> i think it was a serious mistake. we probably would have had peace in the middle east if we had recognized a newly elected government and worked with them with support. but this is what we have now learned in egypt and i think we'll do a different path and give them a chance to govern. >> israel is understandably pretty twitchy about what's going on. you know, i interviewed president netanyahu and he took me to the map of the region, showing these big countries, saudi arabia, egypt, iran, and so on, and then he put his thumbprint on israel, and you got a sense of the vulnerability they feel. you've always been criticized for being more pro-palestinian than israeli in the conflict. do you think naturally that you are?
>> no, i don't. if i had one constant prayer the last 35 years of my life, it would be to bring peace to israel. because i know about the holy land, i've taught lessons about the holy land all my life, but you can't bring peace to israel without giving the palestinian also peace. and lebanon and jordan and syria as well. and i believe that this is still an opportunity for the united states and europe to play a positive role in bringing about a peace, based on all the international agreements. that it is a withdrawal to the '67 borders with some modifications negotiated to allow the big settlements to stay right near -- >> how much was your view slightly colored by the fact, whenever you met bagen, he would refer to any palestinian as a terrorist. >> yes, he did. >> and i might be wrong, but i kind of got a sense that when you heard this repeatedly, it made you determined not to portray every palestinian as a terrorist, and led you to move slightly more to their side in people's eyes. would that be a fair comment?
>> i don't think so. when i first went to israel, about 15% of the palestinians were christians and they were my friends and soul mates in the worship of the same god in the same way. now they've almost been removed from palestine. so the palestinians are human beings, just like the americans, just like the jews in israel are, and i think they deserve a right to govern their own territory, and their own territory is palestine. which has been defined by international law as a west bank and gaza and east jerusalem. and there could be some modifications to that, as president obama pointed out in may of last year. but israel has to realize that they will never have peace, unless they basically withdraw from palestine and have two governments side by side, that is a two-state solution. and a two-state solution is what the international community all unanimously endorses.
and in word of mouth, at least, prime netanyahu says, we want a two-state solution. >> do you think he means it? >> i'm not sure. their present policies are leading to yuan-state solution, which i believe in the future will be a catastrophe for israel. >> to the israelis who say that you don't fully, i guess, feel their pain of being on the receiving end of the suicide bombing and the attacks and so on, what do you say to them? >> i don't have much chance to talk of israeli leaders anymore, but last time i was over there, i did meet with the speaker of the house and i met with the deputy prime minister and also the mayor of jerusalem. i still talk to some leaders. but i encourage them to treat the palestinians fairly and to honor international law, and to
realize that israel can be a strong, safe, and recognized country by all the palestinians, if they will go back to the '67 borders. and that's the only solution, i think, in the future. but i love israel. i've been there many, many times. i have many friends there, including ma knocken bagen, and many other of the prime ministers. but i think the current policy under netanyahu departs dramatically from all of his predecessors, including his most recent predecessor, olmert, who i knew quite well. he's recognized palestinian's rights to form a government side by side with israel. i'm not sure netanyahu will do that under any reasonable circumstances. i hope he will. >> you brought this amazing peace accord between egypt and israel. how much of this is done to individual personalities, leaders, who just get it and do we have the right people in charge of israel, of palestine? are they the people you could have done business with as president? >> maknockenbagen when he was first elected had a terrible reputation against peace, in fact, he had been branded by the british government before as the number one terrorist in the middle east. but he came around, because of
persuasion by me and because of persuasion and because he knew what was best for his own country. and the peace agreement that we worked out, the camp david accords, had two major facets. number one was, no more war between israel egypt. that party's been honored for 37 years. the other was equal rights for the palestinians and a withdraw by israel from palestinian, which he agreed to. and the united states agreed to and egypt agreed to. that part of it has not been carried out, and i believe that's still an integral part of the future process. but i'm very close to the israeli people and i want very much for them to have peace along with peace for their neighbors. >> let's take a little break and come back and talk about three less than peaceful parts of the world, north korea, iran, and syria. all of which you know rather well. >> yes.
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it is a new world, and we should help to shape it. it is a new world that calls for a new american foreign policy, a policy based on constant decency. >> that's president jimmy carter speaking at notre dame in 1977. very prescient words there. i mean, that could almost have been a speech you'd be making in '09. because it really, american foreign policy is being reshaped before our very eyes. if you look at the way that iraq played out and even afghanistan, and then compared to someone like libya, you could almost see president obama watching your speech and thinking, here, i think this may be the way to go. >> well, that was a different time. that was when america first instituted the real application of human rights in dealing with other countries around the world.
so we promoted human rights and transformed, for instance, all the countries in latin america were just about military dictatorship because of that policy, they soon all became democracies. and that's changed a lot for other countries around the world. and so, now, of course, it's a different time. and we see the so-called arab spring, which may bring 2011 into history books as a matter of transforming that entire region of the world into a move toward democracy, away fro dictatorships. >> could that have happened in iraq if it had been left to its own devices? >> well, i certainly think so. and if we hadn't invaded iraq, which was a horrible tragedy and a mistake in my opinion, it might very well be that iraq would have been the first -- one of the earliest arab countries to fall as the people rose up to replace the dictatorship. and the fact that it surprised everyone when it happened in tunisia and libya and egypt i think shows very clearly that iraq would have been a likely candidate for that purpose. >> there are three danger spots for america right now, i would argue. i mean, correct me if i'm wrong. you know a lot more about this than i do. but iran, syria, north korea,
traditional danger spots, but certainly more so now than ever with a change of leadership in north korea, with ahmadinejad in iran behaving ever-more erratically and threateningly, some would argue, and syria going up in flames. is there a consistent policy that america should pursue with the three or are they all very different cases? >> well, they are different, but there are basic principles that should be followed. one is to negotiate as best you can through directly or through intermediaries with the people with whom you have differences. for instance, north korea is a good example. i went over there in 1994 to help prevent an almost certain war between north and south korea. i negotiated with kim il-sun, the grandfather, and the most revered leader, and worked out an agreement that he would do away with nuclear weapons and would have peace with north korea and south korea. and president clinton adopted that agreement and put it into effect. unfortunately, when president bush came into office, george w.
bush, he threw all that in the waist basket. syria is a different proposition. that's a case where the people are rising up, the regime in power, nobody knows how much support they have among their own people, still are very abusive, and i think the world is very reluctant to go in like we did in libya, to have a military operation against syria. it's a much more powerful company and much more a respected country, having been there since ancient times. >> should assad go, though, do you think? >> i think assad is very likely to go in the next few months, maybe during this current year. but i would like to see some effort made, the russians are now supporting syria, as you know, protecting them in a way, which they are in iran as well. but i think the russians would come on board if there was an opportunity for a democratic
process in syria to be orchestrated, very similar to what we are now seeing in egypt, where the people will have a right to decide who will be their leaders, including their president, elect their own parliament and let the people decide. as far as other problems are concerned, like iran, there is a regime that i believe is very likely to go to a nuclear weapon capability. they swear that they won't. i don't agree with what they are saying. i think it's very likely that they will go to a nuclear capability. >> and the big question then is how does america respond if it has absolute concrete evidence that iran now has a nuclear weapon? >> i don't think america has that kind of confidence. and i don't think that our secret information, our intelligence information leads us to that capability. they have the right and ability to go there, not the right to build weapons, but they have the right to purify uranium. i happen to be a nuclear engineer by training and i understand the process. in order to use it in their research and also to use it to generate power. i don't know what the truth is, but i think we need to do everything we can to deter them
from going that way. if we cut off iran's ability to export oil, which would face them with the prospect of a devastating economic blow, then i think that would be an inevitable movement to war. and i think it would be a very serious mistake. >> and you deliberately avoided any kind of military conflict with iran, when you were president? >> yes, i did. i was advised by many of our people to go to war with iran, to bomb them, and to punish them for holding our hostages. >> you still think it would have been a terrible error to do that? >> i do, because every one of the hostages came home safe and free. there was no one killed in the war. we didn't have a war with iran. i was a military officer by profession. i was a submarine officer and i know what it means to have a strong military so that we can deter other people from attacking us. but whenever possible in government, i think we ought to avoid military conflict and do everything we can to negotiate with other people, even though it seems like we're losing face.
and if we can't negotiate directly with them, use intermediaries. so do everything possible before we go to war. >> what president obama or whoever wins the next election cannot afford to do, though, is to look weak in the eyes of the iranians. ahmadinejad would jump on that. at what stage would the american administration have to consider military action? what would need to precipitate that? >> i think a real threat against israel, for instance, of an atomic attack, and i'm not sure that the iranians are going toward a nuclear capability. looking from their point of view at all the pressures that would be exerted on them, if they do, but it would be suicidal if iran, say if they develop a few nuclear weapons like north korea has, maybe seven nuclear weapons, if they attacked israel, that would be wiped off the map by israel's 200 or 300 nuclear weapons. nobody knows how many they have. >> let's take another break and
come back and talk about barack obama. i need say no more. so much to discuss with the next president. this is an exact replica of your oval office, isn't it? >> it is absolutely the way it was. >> same furniture? >> same furniture, same carpet. everything's exactly the same. and the same scene when you look outdoors. >> that's the exact same scene? >> springtime. >> when you come in here, how does it make you feel? >> it makes me feel at home. it brings back a lot of memories. i remember the last three days i was president, i never went to bed at all. i never went to bed until we had negotiated the final release of the hostages. >> and jimmy and i used to put a table between those two chairs and meet, was it every wednesday? >> every week. we had a private meeting every week, just the two of us. l? yummy. [ woman ] lower cholesterol. [ man 2 ] yummy. i got that wrong didn't i? [ male announcer ] want great taste and whole grain oats that can help lower cholesterol? honey nut cheerios. when i got my medicare card,
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i want to talk to you right now about a fundamental threat to american democracy. too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. >> that was president jimmy carter delivering his so-called malaise speech in 1979, which didn't go down very well with the american people. and president carter is back with me now. i mean, you were right then and you would be right to say that today, wouldn't you? >> yeah. as a matter of fact, the immediate response of that was the most favorable i ever had to a speech. but later, then govern reagan and my democratic opponent ted
kennedy attacked the speech. i never called it the malaise speech. it was just a frank analysis of how america needed to change and that we still had resilient strength to overcome any difficulty if we work together. >> but the reality is that americans carried on consuming and many of them carried on being self-indulgent and we ended up $13 trillion in debt with a catastrophic financial meltdown. so, you know, the grassroots were there, which you picked up on, but nobody listened? >> well, we had basically a balanced budget when we were in office, which was a very important thing for me. but that alienated some of the more liberal democrats. but since then we've just abandoned those kind of principles and i don't know how we're going to get out of this
economic -- >> one of the ways, may i suggest, this is your book, "through the year with jimmy carter." a fascinating book, because you took all these sunday bible teachings you've done for 30, 40 years, and you put them into an order that made sense, and you related many of your own personal stories, both from your life and your presidency. and it is absolutely absorbing. i used to have bible teachers when i was young, but they were never linked to events like this, which is what makes it so interesting. and one of the things you told in there, you told a story about you grew up on a peanut farm. one of the questions, do you like peanuts? >> i still grow peanuts and eat peanuts. >> you like peanuts? >> i wish everyone would join me in eating peanuts. >> i love peanuts. when you were very young, you would get up at 4:00 in the morning and boil the peanuts, having picked them the night before, and walk off several miles and sell them on the roadside and with the money you made from that, you went and did something else, and then you bought some property, and slow by surely, you built yourself a
little empire. that kind of entrepreneurial zeal is just disappearing from modern american youth. and i don't blame them, i blame the kind of culture and lifestyle that they're being encouraged to lead. what do you think? >> well, i think that entrepreneurial spirit was very important for me as a remote, as a farm boy on a remote farm who didn't know anything about the outside world, but was raised with hard work and had a nurturing parents. and i made the best of what hi had. and then later all i wanted to do was go into the navy. that was my total ambition for life. >> when president obama makes his state of the union speech next week, would you like to see him do that kind of speech? what they call the malaise speech, but actually was a direct message to people. yes, we know times are tough. yes, we know that unemployment figures are very, very high. we know people are suffering.
but actually, the first thing americans should be doing right now is self-starting, getting back on their feet, finding ways to make a living. doing the type of entrepreneurial thing that you did when you were young. >> well, i don't want to tell president obama how to make a speech, he's a much better speechmaker than i am. but i think always to tell the truth in a sometimes blatant way, even though it might be temporarily unpopular, is the best approach. let the american people know the facts as expressed to them very clearly and very concisely and inspirationally by the president who's in the white house. i think is always very good. and we need to be told the truth. you know, we're now approaching $15 trillion in debt, and if we do everything we're supposed to do, in a few years we'll be $20 billion -- trillion in debt. we haven't addressed that yet, but at the same time, there's a way to balance cutting back on expenditures with increased economic opportunity for american people to take advantage of our freedom, our liberty, our entrepreneurial spirit. and i'm sure he'll do better than i am. i think he'll make a good impression. >> how do you think he's doing
as president? >> well, he hasn't been able to accomplish very much because he's been hamstringed by the most uncooperative congress we've had in history, in my opinion. >> which you never had to suffer from. >> i had very good support from democrats and republicans all throughout my administration. i had a very high batting average. we added more jobs per year in my four years than any other president since the second world war. we kept our country at peace. we had some problems, yes. but i think that's very much due to the fact that we didn't have the negative advertising that we have now. >> how do you personally get on with president obama? >> we don't have any relationship much. i met with him early in his administration, and we really don't have any relationship. >> are you sad about that? >> i wish it was a closer relationship. i get a briefing when i ask for
it. for instance, before i went to egypt last week, i got a briefing from the state department about their policy which was to accept the results of the election, no matter who won, which was very gratifying to me. and when i go to north korea or when i go to some troubled place in the world and come back, i'll always make a report. in fact, monday morning, i sent president obama and the secretary of state, hillary clinton, and the secretary general of the united nations a full report of what my advice and impressions were. so i stay in close contact with them. >> i heard that you felt a little bit let down when the first chance he got to have you speak at a democratic convention, he asked you to do a documentary film instead on president clinton, and it was can cut from 20 minutes to 4 minutes, and you were a bit
cheesed off at this? >> well, i was, a bit. and people explained the reasons for that. >> were they good reasons? >> for him to get elected, yes. and i didn't need the exposure at the democratic convention. i've been out of office for 25 years at that time. i didn't need to make a speech to the people. so if four-minute documentary was gratifying to me and i did get the chance to get on the stage and wave to the people. i was forbidden to speak, but i think he wanted to win the election and i was -- we had 22 votes in our family, all 22 votes went to president obama. and one advantage he'll have going into next year, i think he's going to win, by the way, against any republican nominee, but i had also a divided democratic party, which is partially my fault. for the last two years i was running for re-election, i had ted kennedy running against me, which divided the party and we never put it -- >> and president obama doesn't have that problem. >> no, he doesn't have that. so he's been lucky in many ways. but i was lucky to get elected, i was lucky to be able to serve. and in a way since i left the white house, i've had a much more productive life and a much more gratifying and happy life than i ever dreamed i would have
security of our country. >> barack obama's the most dangerous president since jimmy carter. >> well, we kept -- >> i never thought you were that dangerous. >> i didn't either. i thought i was probably one of the least dangerous presidents. >> you found peace wherever you went. >> i accomplished our goals. >> when you hear rick santorum using you as some stick to batter president obama, what do you think about that? >> i think he's mistaken. i don't think he's helping himself. he'll be campaigning in georgia, i got 85% of the votes in georgia, and for him to be attacking here before he comes here trying to prevail, i think is a mistake -- >> is he meddling with the wrong guy here? >> well, i'm not dangerous to him. >> what do you think of the republican race? has mitt romney, from what you're looking at, as he got it in the bag, do you think? >> that's the indication now. but what happens in south carolina will have a major impact.
but even if some other candidate should come in first in south carolina and mitt romney comes in a close second, i think he's still by far the most likely person to prevail. >> what you're saying is most of the candidates, not all of them, aside from ron paul, perhaps, pushing the rhetoric more and more to the right. >> yeah, they all want to go to war. >> not only that, but also on social issues. rick perry did a commercial attacking gay marriage, in a very, in what many people thought, was bigoted manner. when you see that kind of thing, as a very religious man himself, a lot of them say, look, it's all in the bible, what do you feel? >> i feel that they're going to extremes just to try to get votes. and i don't think rick perry's been that extreme as a governor, but he's trying to be more extreme, and it's proven to be a mistake for rick perry. he's gone downhill when everyone thought he had the best chance when he first got in. now gingrich in the south carolina debate, i watched part of it. i think he has that subtlety of racism that i know quite well and that gingrich knows quite well, that appeals to some people in georgia, particularly right wing. >> and you think he's doing it deliberately? >> i think so. he knows as well the words you
use, like welfare mamas and so forth, that have been appealing in the past in those days when we had serious segregation of the races. so he's appealing for that in south carolina. i don't think it will pay off in the long run. >> that's a pretty serious charge to level at newt gingrich that he's being racist. >> i wouldn't say he's racist, but he knows the subtle words to use to appeal to -- >> it's the same thing, isn't it? >> not quite. >> what's the difference? >> he's not a racist, i think. newt gingrich is probably just as enlightened as i am about being gratified that we ended segregation years in the south and we're now a part of the -- >> but if you pander to that kind of rhetoric -- >> he does. and when you emphasize over and over and over, you know, welfare and -- >> i mean -- >> food stamps and why don't the black people get jobs and if i'm president, i'll make sure that they turn towards a work ethic rather than an unethic of welfare and food stamps, i think that's appealing to the wrong element in south carolina. >> you've already said you think barack obama will win, whatever kind of rhetoric -- >> he does. and when you emphasize over and over and over, you know, welfare and -- >> i mean -- >> food stamps and why don't the black people get jobs and if i'm president, i'll make sure that they turn towards a work ethic rather than an unethic of welfare and food stamps, i think
that's appealing to the wrong element in south carolina. >> you've already said you think barack obama will win, whatever happens. what could prevent that happening? what are the warning signs for barack obama that you would, if you had the chance, you would say to him, watch this. be careful about that. >> well, as we mentioned on the program earlier, i think luck has a lot to do with it. the president has very little power over what happens in the economy. you know, the congress with their tax laws, the federal reserve on the supply of money. he's just one of the three players that have kind of an equal balance. so if the economy improves dramatically and he can take credit for it next year, then i think he'll have a much better chance to win. if the economy should go downhill or stay where it is now with 8.5% unemployment, i think that the republican nominee will have a better chance.
but in balance, i think the republicans have taken such a right-wing extreme position to appeal to the tea party and others in their party that they have abandoned the central part of the campaign. but i know from experience, in my 87 years looking back on some of the campaigns, that both parties now, both democrats and republicans, will move towards the center as they get into the general election. and i don't know what's going to happen next year. >> they say behind every great woman is an even greater woman, and i think particularly in your case, mr. president. i hope you don't take that personally. but after the break, i'm going to bring in rosalind carter, who has been with you, married for 65 years. >> yes. >> that in itself is right up there with the israel/egypt peace accord for achievement. >> i take it personally and i agree with it. whoa!
i do my things, he does his things, we do our things together and it's good. >> we were married 65 years ago and we've grown to love and know each other more every day, i would say. >> jimmy and rosalind carter, just a few months ago, and they both join me now. welcome, mrs. carter. there's a fantastic story in the book, through the year with jimmy carter, which i really enjoyed reading, because it's a great fusion of spiritual and religious message, but coupled with really good anecdotes and one of them made me laugh out loud, and i think it will every husband and wife who watches this. which is he forgets your birthday a few years ago. >> that's right. >> and he panics, because he can't think of any way he can get you a president that he can
buy. so then being quite crafty, as you'd expect from the former president, he thinks, right, i know what i'm going to do here, i'm going to give my wife the one thing i know she'd really like. president carter, finish the story for me. >> well, i gave her a certificate in writing, and i signed it, that i would never again criticize her for being late. >> i mean, i know that you're very, very punctual to a very obsessive agree, and he admits you're not that bad. so it's a nice thing, but on the other hand, it's slightly irritating. >> well, one minute is too late. that's not fair. i really appreciate it. he's stuck to it pretty good. >> he has stuck to it? he's never moaned again? >> there's another story about him forgetting my christmas present. >> how many of these things have you forgotten, mr. president? >> he said he would give me, he would do anything i wanted him
to do, so i told him, i wanted him to bring me coffee in the mornings. so every morning since, he's brought me coffee. >> i love this! you must be thinking now, this is really working for me. rather than some terrible sweater or something i don't really need, now i'm getting a coffee every morning, he never moans about me being late. are there any other things that you would like to maneuver -- >> from now, i'm going to buy some earrings or a necklace. it would be a lot easier on me. 65-year manger. what do you think the secret has been to the longevity of your marriage? >> well, i think maybe the hardest time we had was when he came home from the white house, because it was the first time we'd both within home together all day every day. time we had was when we came home from the white house because it was the first time we
had all been home together all day everyday, and we the to learn how to figure out that situation. and what we have learned is that we must give each other space. things that i want to do that jimmy doesn't want to be involved in. >> like what? >> like -- um, um, i want to go in my office and work without interruption. >> pretty bad. who is the boss? >> he's the boss. >> really? you both think the other is the boss. that may be the secret of a happy marriage. have you had periods in your life where you -- have you ever had times or have you been really lucky. you have never had a period ipyour life? >> we had one period like that. we tried to write a book together. >> that was a terrible time. >> i could write a chapter in one or two days. she would write slowly. we agreed to exchange chapters. i would give her my chapter, and she would look at it as a rough draft, and she would give me something she had wrote, and it was like god had given her this text at mt. sinai and he presented it to her in stone, and if changed one word, it was painful. >> it almost killed your marriage? >> absolutely true. >> the worst problem we had from being married.
>> what did you resolve in. >> we gave up our advance on the book to the publisher. he came down, said look, you have this many paragraphs on which you can't agree. i'll put a j by it, and this will be rosslyns, and i'll put an r. if you read the book, you'll see the paragraphs with js and rs. that's how we solved it. >> and you have never written a book again. >> and never will. >> never will. let's get a final break. the paragraphs with js and rs. that's how we solved it. >> and you have never written a book again. >> and never will. >> never will. let's get a final break. you have seen so much together in life as well as personal stuff. what are the accomplishments you would like to knock off, what are the thins left you would like to do?
>> this is what i call papua new guinea work. why? >> it's isolated villages with no source of water. and people drink water out of that, and that accumulates in the water. a year after, the guinea worm grows inside the body about this long and penetrates the skin and causes a horrible sore and comes out. we recycled this in 25 different countries, every village. we found 3.5 million cases of guinea worms still existing, so now we have this in 1,000 places. we'll soon eliminate guinea worm. >> announcer: with nothing but his computer, an identity thief is able to use your information to open a bank account... in order to make your money his money. [whoosh, clang]
>> someone asked me on twitter earlier to ask you this question, both of you, how you felt on the first night you spent in the white house as president and mrs. carter, as you were, and how you felt on the last night? what are the big differences? >> it's hard to go to sleep the first night, it was so excited. >> we were grateful and overawed by the responsibility on my shoulders, and the last night we spent there, i had not been to sleep for three nights. i had been negotiating to get the hostaging released from iran. so i was praying that they would be released from iran, and i was successful. so it was a very exciting time. >> you were just telling me, you spent 41 years in mental health work. tell me about that. >> well, i was campaigning for jimmy for governor, and they
passed that was going to have a huge community health center. and that was on kennedy's bill, but when jimmy was running for governor, he was being moved out of the big horrible institutions into the communities with no services. with no community health services that had been built. so everybody asked me what myhead would do if he was elected. and before the campaign was over, i became really concerned. jimmy was feeling the same pressure, and so when he was elected governor, he established the governor's commission to improve services for the mentally and physically handicapped. and that was the beginning of my stay in health issues. when i began to work on it, i could see that people with mental illness got funding that was left over after everything else was funding. >> an afterthought. >> an afterthought. >> there was nothing.
i worked on the governor's commission, and we have a good section at the carter center. >> what is undeniable, maybe there's even more people suffering from meantal illness, awareness is so much better thanks toeft from yourself and others. >> we tried to raise awareness. i have an annual symposium, i have leaders from all over the country in the health field to come in and talk about current issues. we have been concerned about prisoners coming home from iraq and afghanistan. >> veterans. >> veterans coming home. >> done a terrific job, and i want to congratulate you on that. i also want to congratulate you, mr. carter on this book. i read it in about 36 hours. i came to one conclusion after i finished this book. this guy, should be president.